This page provides an overview only of the requirements for completing a medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) or perinatal death (MCCPD).
For the full requirements, refer to relevant legislation including the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996.
As a doctor, you must notify the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 48 hours of a death if you:
- Were responsible for the person's medical care immediately before death
- Examined the deceased person's body after death.
You must also give a copy of the certificate of cause of death to the funeral director.
The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 does not provide for you to charge a fee for this. Funeral directors need a signed copy of the certificate, under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003, in order to dispose of the body.
Do not notify the Registrar where the law requires you to notify the coroner or police.
To notify the Registrar:
You must report the death to the coroner if the death is 'reportable' under the Coroners Act 2008.
'Reportable' includes where:
- The death is (or appears to be):
- A result of accident or injury
- During or after a medical procedure, where death was not reasonable expected and the procedure may have been a cause
- The person who died was:
- In custody
- Under a non-custodial supervision order
- A mental health patient, as defined by the Mental Health Act 1986
- of unknown identity.
The Coroner's Act 2008 also contains other situations.
A 'reviewable' death is the death of a child where another child of the parent(s) has previously died.
The Coroner's Act 2008 provides some exceptions.
You must report any reviewable death to the State Coroner.
If you are unsure whether you should report a death to the coroner, please refer to the Victorian Coroners Court website frequently asked questions .
Voluntary Assisted Dying
If you believe or know that the deceased was the subject of a voluntary assisted dying permit, you must:
- Indicate this on the MCCD
- Provide the information required by the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017
- After submitting the MCCD, also notify the Coroners Court of the death.